SEC football: Bold predictions for Week 5
September is ending, the leaves are changing, and fall is upon us. Which usually means college football is going to go from crazy to batcrap insane. Which is where we come in. We try to guess the craziness. Sometimes we’re right (yes, we did have Kentucky over Mississippi State), sometimes we’re wrong (Vandy over South Carolina, eh, must have been somebody else). But like Brett Favre on a bad day, we don’t quit slinging. Here’s a bold prediction for each SEC game in Week 5:
Jalen Hurts Louisiana
Yes, there’s not a lot of fat on the bone for a bold prediction when Alabama plays Louisiana (formerly Louisiana-Lafayette). The Ragin’ Cajuns have given up 262 rushing yards per game in facing Mississippi State, Grambling and Coastal Carolina. Alabama can do whatever it wants — and out of gratitude for the lack of a QB showdown like what happened at Clemson, Saban will give Jalen Hurts plenty of snaps. He might even smile as Jalen rushes for 100 yards and throws a couple touchdowns off the bench.
The Razorbacks showed some heart on defense last week, and with A&M having a trap game between Alabama and (gulp) Kentucky, Arkansas will make this a ballgame. They’ll be in this one well into the third quarter, and while A&M will win, it won’t cover the three-touchdown spread.
Georgia covers plus 10 more
It’s hard to believe now, but the scores of the UT-Georgia game in the four years leading up to 2017 were 34-31, 35-32, 38-31 and 34-31. It didn’t quite go that way last year, as the Bulldogs went to Knoxville and won 41-0, holding UT to just seven first downs. They’ll do it again this year. Georgia had enough ugliness last week at Mizzou to give Kirby Smart something to challenge his team over. They’ll respond. We’ll take UGA by 41 again.
Stidham steps it up
Gus Malzahn was not happy with his team sleepwalking through last week’s dozy win over Arkansas. The ground game still isn’t clicking, but it shouldn’t matter against Southern Mississippi. Jarrett Stidham will have the kind of game that Auburn needs him to have, leading the league in passing this week, and Auburn will start to get itself back on track.
Kalija has a big day
Vanderbilt has gone from the team that almost knocked off a top 10 opponent on the road to a team that is getting forgotten in the shuffle of the SEC East. See what a bad game can do. One guy who hasn’t had many bad games is Vandy receiver Kalija Lipscomb, who has quietly become one of the most dependable targets in the SEC. Lipscomb will have a big game, going for 125 yards and a pair of scores as Vandy rocks an outclassed Tennessee State squad.
Nick runs wild
Mississippi State plays Florida in the battle of teams that have already lost to Kentucky. While Florida had a big day last week, State stands to rebound in a significant way. Joe Moorhead learned some lessons about his personnel last week, and MSU won’t be passing to set up the run this week. They’ll run and run and run some more. Florida is next to last in the SEC in rush defense, and Nick Fitzgerald will get back on track with 150 yards rushing and a couple of touchdowns in a 17-point Bulldogs win.
The Butler did it
Kentucky is primed for a letdown. And South Carolina comes into this game with a solid chip on its shoulder, courtesy of losing the last four games in this series. Carolina will lead early, but Kentucky’s offense is built for the third and fourth quarters. This one comes down to a field goal, and Kentucky’s former walk-on Miles Butler will be the hero.
No Miss-taking it
Ole Miss is one of those teams that’s hard to figure. Given their potent offense, their nonexistent defense and their maddening inconsistency, they figure to win some games they should lose and lose some games they should win. Meanwhile, LSU has been living dangerously … so let’s double down on the Rebels. Wouldn’t it be something if they went down to LSU and won, and then lost an easy game like UL-Monroe or Arkansas? We’ll call for both of those things.